I don’t normally get overly emotional when a famous person or celebrity dies but every once in a while someone who has touched my life, celebrity or not, will pass away and it makes me feel sad. Today my Saturday morning friend over on NPR, Tom Magliozzi, passed away from alzheimers and it made me feel very sad.
He and his brother Ray were the hosts of NPR’s Car Talk and were better known as Click and Clack the Tappett Brothers.
Here is a tribute done on NPR today.
The thing is anyone who knows me knows I hate cars. I hate driving. If I could live in Manhattan and never own a car I would be a happy lady. They are a necessary evil in my life and a royal pain in the neck. As my Dad knows I even hate cleaning cars. I just don’t care about cars.
And yet I liked Car Talk. I first discovered them around 2006. At the time I was very unhappy working as a receptionist where I would do long stretches of data entry, sometimes days of data entry. One regular project I had was 35 pages of data for the monthly car account.
That was just one of the mindnumbingly boring chores I did for that job. When there wasn’t a call I could put an ear bud in one ear and play some music or a podcast, so I downloaded just about everyone I could put my hands on. That is also when I started my audible account so I’ve had that for 8 years!
In fact, I preferred podcasts to music because it was less distracting and made me feel like I was having some human contact in my cubicle cell. I could be doing the most boring task imaginable and listening to a podcast on books or science and feel like my brain was getting some aerobics in the day.
In all those podcasts I discovered Car Talk and the first episode that really made me laugh was when Tom told the story of Tanya the Trainer. I posted this on my blog years ago and it still makes me laugh every time I read it.
I was hooked. Tom and Ray were the embodiment of cheerfulness and joy. Every Saturday I would turn in and laugh and smile and then I would listen to the podcast again a couple of times throughout the week. Just a few months ago I tweeted during stopped traffic ‘thank you for Car Talk. It makes traffic liveable”. Joyfulness and a love of life will have that effect no matter what they are talking about.
Another funny bit that was a favorite of mine is the operation vowel drop. I’ve listened to this about a hundred times and it still cracks me up.
A recurring bit on the show was that Tom could never remember the puzzler from the previous week. Little did we know for at least some of the years he literally could not remember.
Here was a bit where the two laughing at dementia and foreign accent syndrome. Even though I didn’t know him his laughter was infectious and I’m sure he would want to be remembered for it.
It’s interesting that I would find Car Talk when I was so unhappy at work and listening to all those podcasts while grinding through all that data entry because Tom was somewhat of a crusader of anti-work. He said he had an epiphany one day after commuting 45 minutes to work and almost being in a dangerous accident:
“He had a revelation that he was wasting his life. Upon arriving at work, he walked into his boss’ office and quit on the spot. He hated putting on a suit and working in the 9-to-5 world.
“He actually hated working in any world,” says his brother Ray. “Later on, when we were doing Car Talk, he would come in late and leave early. We used to warn him that if he left work any earlier, he’d pass himself coming in.”
As Tom once described his own attitude to his listeners, “Don’t be afraid of work. Make work afraid of you. I did such a fabulous job of making work afraid of me that it has avoided me my whole life so far.”
I love that. Just when I was so miserable in my work I found a joyful spirit in someone who had found freedom from it. Do what you have to do and do it with joy and ‘work’ in it’s 4 letter sense will leave you be.
This is another caller I love who they talked off the edge from destroying her car. They just made you happy when you listened to them.
A friend of mine told me she didn’t like their show and I found it astounding because they are so cheerful and happy. It’s like not liking a babies grin or dimples on a little girl. They are so joyful.
Anyway, I just wanted to put my thoughts out there and say thanks to Tom and Ray for cheering me up all these years. RIP Tom and my comforts to Ray and the entire Magliozzi clan.
It just shows what good a human being can do when he or she finds their calling.
They were immortalized by the Pixar folks with Ray a Volkswagen van and Tom his fabled Dodge Dart.